I am a feminist geographer researching human-environment interactions, specifically investigating the human dimensions of water . I am interested in waterscapes and how they are modified, reified and used by people and in turn, how people, their norms and customs are constituted by and through waterscapes.

I was recently nominated to be the Coordinating Lead of Author of chapter 4 `Water` of the WGII on Adaptation for the 2021 6th IPCC Assessment Report. I am also a 2018 recipient of the Aspen Global Change Institute Catalyst Fellowship.

I have conducted my dissertation work in the drylands of East Africa on smallholder irrigation systems from gender, institutional and landscape perspectives. Most of my research has focused on the Global South and my works have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals. All my scientific work has been guided by participatory feminist methodologies. Hence, I teach undergraduate and graduate courses on qualitative methods.

Since coming to West Virginia University I have been investigating the response to the 2016 floods in southern West Virginia, stakeholders’ lived experience of unconventional oil and gas extraction in central West Virginia and students’ perception of climate change in natural resources major at WVU. Moreover, while exploring women’s everyday resistance to the extractive industry in West Virginia, I am starting a comparative project in Latin America. Such research projects feed into my teaching on “Gender and Geography”.

As a feminist geographer I am also interested in the neoliberal turn of the academia and its consequences for early career women geographers. I am currently co-editing a special issue on this topic in Geografiska Annaler.

At the intersection of gender and water studies, I co-authored a UNESCO report as part of the World Water Assessment Program:

Miletto, M; Caretta, M.A., F.M. Burchi, G. Zanlucchi. 2017. Migration and its interdependencies with water scarcity, gender and youth employment. UNESCO. World Water Assessment Program.
Migration and its interdependencies with water scarcity, gender and youth employment

Latest activities:

Dr. Caretta was recently cited in an article on water infrastructure in West Virginia by West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Midwest Global Health Conference, February 24, 2018
The Gender and Embodied Dimensions of Water. A Feminist Geographical Analysis

Blog post about UNESCO report: Sustainable Security, Engendering Climate Change-Induced Migration

UNESCO report webinar:

Read all PUBLICATIONS here

  1. Caretta, M. A., Drozdzewski, D., Jokinen, J. C., & Falconer, E. (2018). “Who can play this game?” The lived experiences of doctoral candidates and early career women in the neoliberal university. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 0(0), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/03098265.2018.1434762
  2. Whitney, R. V., Caretta M. A. 2018. Considering all the role of injured workers who are mothers. SIS Quarterly Practice Connections, 3, 1. 27-29.
  3. Porsani, J., Caretta, M. A., & Lehtilä, K. (2018). Large-scale land acquisitions aggravate the feminization of poverty: findings from a case study in Mozambique. GeoJournal, 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-017-9836-1 Open Access
  4. Higgins, L., & Caretta, M. A. (2018). Lake extent changes in Basotu, Tanzania: a mixed-methods approach to understanding the impacts of anthropogenic influence and climate variability. Landscape Research, 0(0), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2017.1416599
  5. Caretta, M. A., Westerberg, L.-O., Mburu, D. M., Fischer, M., & Börjeson, L. 2018. Soil management and soil properties in a Kenyan smallholder irrigation system on naturally low-fertile soils. Applied Geography, 90, 248–256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2017.12.008
  6. Caretta, M. A., & Cheptum, F. J. 2017. Leaving the field: (de-)linked lives of the researcher and research assistant. Area, Online First. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12342
  7. Wimark, T., Lewis, N. M., & Caretta, M. A. 2017. A life course approach to the field and fieldwork. Area, Online First. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12362
  8. Caretta, M.A. 2017. Striving beyond epistemic authority: results dissemination in smallholder irrigation farming research. Annals of the American Association of Geographers https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2016.1261686
  9. Caretta, M. A., & Jokinen, J. C. 2017. Conflating Privilege and Vulnerability: A Reflexive Analysis of Emotions and Positionality in Postgraduate Fieldwork. The Professional Geographer, 69(2), 275–283. https://doi.org/10.1080/00330124.2016.1252268
  10. Östberg, W., & Caretta, M. A. (2017). Kerio Valley, 1973–2013: A case study of Kenyan smallholder agriculture. African Studies, 76(3), 402–422. https://doi.org/10.1080/00020184.2017.1285664
  11. Andersson, L, Caretta, M.A. 2017. Arsenic poisoning in rural Bangladesh: an intersectional analysis of impacts on women. wH2o The Journal of Gender and Water, 6, 4-23 http://www.wh2ojournal.com/uploads/7/5/2/6/75265451/wh2o_issue_5.pdf
  12. Caretta, M. A. Webster, N.A. 2016. “What kept me going was stubbornness”. Perspectives of early career women on enablers and barriers in academia. Investigaciones Feministas 7 (2) 89-113 http://dx.doi.org/10.5209/INFE.52911
  13. Jokinen, J.C., Caretta, M.A., 2016. When bodies do not fit: an analysis of postgraduate fieldwork. Gender, Place & Culture 23, 1665–1676. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2016.1249343
  14. Webster, N. A. Caretta, M.A., 2016. “Women in groups can help each and learn from each other”.  The role of homosocial practices in shaping and renegotiating the local gender contract. Géneros. Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies, 5(3), 1072-1095. doi: 10.17583/generos.2016.1992
  15. Caretta, M.A. 2016. Practising Feminist Political Ecologies: Moving beyond the “Green Economy” by Harcourt, W., Nelson, I.L. (eds.) Book review. Progress in Development Studies 16, 4.
  16. Caretta, M.A., Riaño, Y. 2016. Feminist Participatory Methodologies in Geography: Creating Spaces of Inclusion. Qualitative Research, 16 (3­), doi:10.1177/1468794116629575
  17. Caretta, M.A. 2016. Member checking: a participatory method to test and analyze preliminary results in cross-cultural, cross-language research. Qualitative Research, 16(3­), 305-318 DOI: 10.1177/1468794115606495
  18. Caretta, M.A. 2015. East African Hydropatriarchies: An analysis of changing waterscapes in smallholder irrigation farming. Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography. ISBN: 978-91-7649-206-2. diva2:853702
  19. Caretta, M.A., Vacchelli, E. 2015. Re-thinking the boundaries of the focus group. A reflexive analysis on the use and legitimacy of group methodologies in qualitative research. Sociological Research Online  DOI: 10.5153/sro.3812
  20. Duong, S., Caretta, M.A. 2015.Migration with dignity. En studie om klimatsanpassning i Kiribati. Geografiska Notiser
  21. Caretta, M.A. 2015. Managing variability and scarcity.  An analysis of Engaruka: a Maasai smallholder irrigation farming community Agricultural Water Management 189, 318-330. DOI: doi:10.1016/j.agwat.2015.05.015
  22. Caretta, M.A. and Börjeson, L. 2015. Local gender contract and adaptive capacity in smallholder irrigation: a case study from the Kenyan dry-lands. Gender, Place & Culture 22, 644–661. DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2014.885888
  23. Caretta, M. A., Cadena Montero, G.Y., Sulbarán, L., Sandoval, R. 2015. ¿La revolución tiene cara de campesina?” Un caso de estudio de la participación activa de las mujeres en el riego del páramo venezolano. Revista Latino Americana de Genero y Geografia, Vol. 6 , n. 2.  pp. 3- 23. DOI: 10.5212/Rlagg.v.6.i2.0001
  24. Caretta, M. A. 2015. Casa Rut. A multilevel analysis of “good practice” in the social assistance of sexually trafficked Nigerian women. Affilia. Online FirstDOI: 10.1177/0886109915572846
  25. Caretta, M.A. 2014. Situated knowledge in cross-cultural, cross-language research: a collaborative reflexive analysis of researcher, assistant and participant subjectivities. Qualitative research (early view) DOI: 10.1177/1468794114543404
  26. Caretta, M.A. 2014. Hydropatriarchies and landesque capital: a local gender contract analysis of two smallholder irrigation systems in East Africa. The Geographical Journal (early view) DOI: 10.1111/geoj.12102
  27. Caretta, M.A. 2014. ‘“Credit plus” microcredit schemes: a key to women´s adaptive capacity’  Climate & Development (early view) DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2014.886990
  28. Caretta, M.A., Kuns, B. and Webster, N. 2014. Praktiska, metodologiska och emotionella utmaningar i fält. En diskurs att utvecklas inom geografi. Geografiska Notiser, 72, 3, 117 – 126.